Drawing on data provided by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released its latest report on air passenger traffic.
The report estimates total traffic in Q2 ‘21 at 3.2 million passengers, representing an increase of 9% q/q and 72% y/y. However, despite this impressive year-on-year increase, the aviation sector is still recovering from the effects of the covid-19 pandemic as overall passenger traffic is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Based on the national accounts, Nigeria’s air transport segment grew by 4.9% y/y in Q2 ‘21 compared with a contraction of -11.8% recorded in the previous quarter. The reopening of airports and the reinstatement of flights, following the ease in movement restrictions and positive base effects contributed to the uptick in the segment’s growth rate.
For Q2 ‘21, passenger traffic on departures accounted for 50% of total domestic air travel and 51% of total international air travel. According to the report, 86% of total air passengers in Q2‘21 were domestic travellers, pointing to a 9% q/q increase.
Passenger traffic in the Lagos domestic airport increased by 13% q/q to 861,320 passengers.
As for Abuja, there was a 9% q/q increase to 1 million passengers in Q2 ‘21. The Abuja airport accounted for the largest share (37%) of total domestic passengers during the quarter under review. While Lagos and Port Harcourt accounted for 31% and 7% of total passenger traffic (domestic) respectively.
As for international travel, air passenger traffic grew by 4% q/q and 2179% y/y. We suspect the growth mirrors the lifting of international travel restrictions and the rollout of vaccines globally.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global international air travel will continue to recover in 2022. However, low vaccination rates in Africa may remain one of the key obstacles to quicker air travel rebound.